Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and your daily life. How is it transmitted? What about sex? Is there an increased risk of HIV? We explain it all here!


VacioLa COVID-19 es la enfermedad infecciosa causada por el coronavirus que se ha descubierto más recientemente. Tanto el nuevo virus como la enfermedad eran desconocidos antes de que estallara el brote en Wuhan (China) en diciembre de 2019.
What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are an extensive family of viruses that can cause disease in both animals and humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections that can range from the common cold to more serious illnesses, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease.

Both the new virus and the disease were unknown before the outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?

Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted primarily through contact with a sick person’s respiratory droplets, rather than through the air. (See the answer above to the question “How does COVID-19 spread?”)

What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread?

Wash your hands vigorously and frequently using soap and running water or, if that is not possible, use a 70% alcohol-based disinfectant. Soap and water or alcohol-based disinfectant eliminates viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain a minimum distance of 2 meter between you and other people because if someone coughs or sneezes, droplets of nasal or oral fluid that may contain the virus are released through the nose or mouth.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands, as your hands touch many surfaces and can pick up the virus. Once contaminated, the hands can transfer the virus to the eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter the body and cause disease.

Both you and the people around you should make sure you maintain good respiratory hygiene. That means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Used tissues should be discarded immediately.

By maintaining good respiratory hygiene, you are protecting people around you from viruses like the cold, flu, and COVID-19.

Stay home if you don’t feel well. If you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, seek medical attention. Follow the instructions of the local health authorities. The national and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your locality, so monitor information regularly. In many cities, social distancing and curfews have been implemented to curb new infections. So stay home if possible.

What protective measures should people take where COVID-19 is spreading?
  1. Follow the advice from the previous question.
  2. Stay home if you start to feel bad, even if your symptoms are mild—like headache, mild fever (99° F or higher), and mild runny nose—until you recover. If you need to leave home or receive a visit (for example, to get food), use a face mask or some other covering on your face to avoid infecting other people.
  3. If you returned from a trip from an area considered risky (e.g. Central Europe, China, Japan, United States, etc.) Put yourself in voluntary self-isolation (a minimum of 14 days) without contact with other people and rigorously adopt the recommendations mentioned in the previous answer. * See the updated map at the moment of the countries with the most cases
Are there medications or therapies to prevent or cure COVID-19?

Although some western, traditional, or home remedies can provide comfort and alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medications can prevent or cure the disease. We recommend that you do NOT self-medicate, particularly with antibiotics, to prevent or cure COVID-19. There are several ongoing clinical trials with traditional and western medications. WHO will provide updated information as soon as the results of clinical trials are available.

How long is the COVID-19 incubation period?

The incubation period is the time between infection by the virus and the first appearance of symptoms of the disease. Most estimates for the COVID-19 incubation period range from 1 to 14 days, and are generally around five days.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may experience pain, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and appear gradually.

Some people contract COVID-19 but do not develop any symptoms and do not feel ill. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing any special medical treatment. About 1-in-6 people who get COVID-19 develop a serious illness and have difficulty breathing.

Older people, and those with underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious complications.

Is it possible to get COVID-19 from contact with a person who does not have any symptoms?

The risk of contracting COVID-19 from someone who does not have symptoms is similar to that of a person who has them, so it is important to take the necessary isolation and hygiene measures to avoid being in contact with the virus.

Many people who get COVID-19 have only mild symptoms. This is particularly true in the early stages of the disease. Therefore, it is possible to get it from someone who, for example, only has a mild cough and does not feel sick. The World Health Organization (WHO) is studying more about the transmission period of COVID-19 and will continue to report on the updated results at

How should I seek help in case of symptoms?

First try to seek medical assistance by telephone with your primary health service. Or reach by phone or digital media the programs governments of each country have arranged for the emergency. See the list of resources by country.

Avoiding visiting medical centers will allow health facilities to function more effectively and will help protect you and others from potential COVID-19 infections.

Who is at risk of developing a serious illness?

We still have a lot to learn about how COVID-19 affects humans, but we can all become infected.

Is there a vaccine, medicine, or treatment for COVID-19?

Not yet. To date, there is no specific vaccine or antiviral medication to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected must receive healthcare to relieve symptoms. People with severe cases of the disease should be hospitalized. Most patients recover with the help of support measures.

Possible vaccines and different specific pharmacological treatments are being investigated. There are ongoing clinical trials to test them. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat COVID-19.

Can my pet spread the virus to me?

To date there is no evidence that a dog, cat, or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is spread mainly through droplets produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing, or talking—then someone else breathing them in or by touching contaminated surfaces. To protect yourself, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

Is there something I shouldn't do?

Try to lead your normal life. Take the hygiene and social distancing measures mentioned above—you and your family can face this emergency. We advise you to eat a balanced diet to take care of your immune system and avoid smoking.

  • Avoid excessive exposure to COVID-19 media coverage. Only read information from reliable sources.
  • Take care of your health. Take deep breaths, stretch, exercise, and/or meditate.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Make time to relax and remind yourself
    that negative feelings will fade away.
  • Take breaks and stop watching or hearing news related to the crisis and pandemic.
How does COVID-19 spread?


A person can get COVID-19 from contact with the respiratory droplets of another who is infected with the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through droplets from the nose or mouth that are thrown out when an infected person coughs or exhales. These droplets fall on objects and surfaces around the person, so other people can get COVID-19 if they touch these objects or surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

They can also be spread by inhaling droplets that a person with COVID-19 has spread by coughing or exhaling. So it is important to stay more than 2 meter (6 feet) away from an ill person.

Is it possible to get COVID-19 from contact with the feces of a person with the disease?

The risk of contracting COVID-19 from contact with the feces of an infected person appears to be low. Although initial research suggests that the virus may be present in some cases in feces, this form of spread is not one of the characteristic features of the outbreak. However, it is a risk, and therefore, is one more reason to wash your hands frequently after going to the bathroom.

Are antibiotics or antimicrobials effective in preventing or treating COVID-19?

Neither antibiotics nor antimicrobials are effective against viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work against it. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment against COVID-19.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

Recent studies conclude that the use of face masks or masks DOES help decrease the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, because it decreases the amount of saliva droplets that are expelled from sick people and protect to some extent those that are not so they don’t get infected. For civilians, the use of a homemade cloth mask, ideally three layers or folds of cloth, is indicated. Only medical personnel who are exposed to aerosols from potentially ill people require a particle filter mask, such as the well-known N95.

The use of a mask is much more effective against COVID-19 if the aforementioned sanitary measures are applied: wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth with your elbow or with a tissue when coughing, and keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters (6 feet) at least from anyone.

How long does the virus survive on a surface?

It is not known how long the virus causing COVID-19 survives on a surface, but it appears to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies (including available preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) indicate that coronaviruses can survivie on a surface from a few hours to several days. The time may vary depending on the conditions (for example, the type of surface, the temperature, or the humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with a common disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself. Wash your hands with an alcohol-based disinfectant or plain soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Should I be concerned about COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are generally mild, especially in children and young adults. However, they can also be serious and force approximately 1-in-5 infected to be hospitalized. Therefore, it is quite normal to worry about the effects that the COVID-19 outbreak can have on us and our loved ones.

The main and most important measure is regular and complete hygiene of the hands and respiratory tract. Second, it is important to stay informed and follow the advice of local health authorities, such as those related to travel, commuting, and events where large numbers of people may be concentrated. You can consult the protection tips on the page:


World Health Organization


Does the coronavirus pose a higher risk to people living with HIV?
The new coronavirus prevention guidelines for people living with HIV are the same as for the general public. There is NO evidence that people with HIV are at increased risk for SARS-CoV2 infection or serious complications. There are no indications of the impact of viral load or CD4 cell count or the risk of contracting it or developing complications.
How to get increased quantities of antiretrovirals during quarantine?

It is essential to ensure your supply of antiretrovirals, ideally for 90 days. In case you have problems getting your ARVs, contact AHF in your country through our WhatsApp lines to assist you.
It is also important to have condoms available during quarantine periods.

How to maintain mental health during social distancing?

Alcohol and drug abuse can have adverse effects on your mental health. Make time to relax, and remind yourself that negative feelings will fade away.

Are there any special recommendations for people living with HIV?
  • Get vaccinated against Influenza and Pneumococcus.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to COVID-19media coverage. Seek information from reliable sources.
  • Take care of your body. Take a deep breath, stretch, and/or meditate.

Other than that, the recommendations are the same as for all people:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, several times a day.
  • If soap and running water are not available, rub your hands with (70% alcohol) disinfectant gel as if you were washing them.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid crowds, trips, and public transportation.
  • Stay at home. Only leave if extremely necessary. The highest transmission rate occurs during the incubation period when people still do not have symptoms or do not look sick.
  • If you have questions or concerns, contact your physician by phone or WhatsApp before physically going to a health center.
  • Get your information from official sources, avoid falling into over-information and panic.



World Health Organization



Can COVID-19 be transmitted through sex?

There is no evidence that Covid-19 is transmitted through vaginal or anal intercourse. Still, it is almost sure that during sex, there will be kissing or you will breathe small droplets of saliva from the other person. 

Sexual contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 is considered a high risk of transmission.

Is it safe to have oral sex?

There is no evidence so far that COVID-19 can be transmitted through vaginal fluids or semen. There is evidence of oral-fecal transmission. Analingus can pose a risk of infection, so it is best to avoid oral sex.

How to have sex during quarantine?
  • You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (keep sex toys clean too) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex.
  • The next safest partner is someone you live with. It is best to have close contact and/or sex with only a small circle of people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • You should avoid close contact, including sex, with anyone outside your home.
  • Try to keep your number of sexual partners to a minimum.
  • If you or your partner suspects you many have COVID-19, temporarily avoid sexual relations and especially kisses until you are evaluated by a physician.
What if I want to find a new sexual partner?

The recommendation is: stay home and practice social distancing.

If you use online partner search platforms such as Tinder, Grinder, Hornet, etc., there should be no physical interaction for a few weeks. Try having video chats with virtual sex (or sex through web cam) and meet in person when the social isolation period has ended.

Is there a risk of getting COVID-19 if I use sex toys?

Touching contaminated surfaces is believed to be the secondary mode of virus transmission. To protect yourself and your partner, even from an STI and any other risks, keep sex toys clean, preferably cover them with a new condom during use, and then discard it. After each use or before using, wash sex toys with plenty of soap and water. Also avoid exchanging or sharing them during the sex act.

Is it safe to have sex right now?

If you or your partner tested positive or have been exposed to cases of COVID-19, avoid sexual and personal contact for the time indicated by your doctor. Call the emergency lines in your country if you have further questions.

Can I get COVID-19 if I kiss someone on the mouth?

The virus can be transmitted through saliva. The virus CAN be transmitted by kissing an infected person on the mouth, cheek, or face. Similarly, you should avoid hugging and handshakes.

Is masturbation safe?

Self-satisfaction is a totally safe option, and you should practice good hygiene before and after with soap and water. There are also other safe ways that people express eroticism and safe sexuality, such as sexting, video calling, virtual sex or sex through web cams, and/or erotic readings.

How long do I have to wait before I can be intimate with someone new?

The most important thing right now is to make sure that you and your acquaintances practice social distancing. The sooner we do this, we will see a decline in new cases, and we can continue our practices of socializing. We recommend that instead of focusing on the future, you focus on the present.



NYC Health

Science Media Centre

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention

The Government Of The Grand Duchy Of Luxembourg

Taylor & Francis Online


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